I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that one of the biggest challenge during the long summer holidays, is maintaining my youngest in a routine. With 12 weeks of summer break here in Spain, it’s important that we need to set some ground rules as soon as the holidays begin.
Unfortunately, instead of enjoying the outdoors or doing more imaginative tasks. Kids nowadays find entertainment within their handheld devices and personal computers. Personally, I think screen time is fine. Within moderation, and as long as chores and responsibilities are completed beforehand.
Children need motivation, and what’s better than making a list to make sure that important things are done before they do anything else. Keeping on top of my sons daily chores can sometimes feel like an impossible task, and I find repeating myself on a daily basis. This is nothing new, but during the summer, it can really drive me up the wall!
Three years ago I started a summer checklist for my son. He still likes to bend the rules and tend to have selective hearing. Yes, he’s one of those. The only thing that works for him is a psychical checklist. This year I am implementing the same method I have used in the past, of course, changing the type tasks as he gets older.
Homework is also important during this time of the year. Nope, we don’t get away from it just because it’s summer. Learning is a must so he keeps his mind refreshed and gives him the chance to practice the subjects that needs improvement.
Our Summer Rules Checklist
Making The Bed
A boring task but also equally important. Since I can remember my mom has constantly told me the importance of making my bed. She said it should be the first thing that should be done in the morning because it’ll ‘make me feel better’.
Back then, I didn’t really know what she meant, but now, I understand. By making him do his bed as soon as he gets up gives him the feeling of accomplishment before starting the day. Not only that, but it develops a habit and makes a lot of difference in getting things done.
Cleaning my sons’ room usually comprises of picking up and putting things away. Throwing away rubbish, tidying his desk/drawers, dusting and sweeping. You know, the ‘easy stuff’.
I don’t know what kind of scam your child pulls, but my son has a habit of shoving everything else under the bed or drawers and try to pass it off as cleaning.
You know how it is, you ask them to clean their room. After a while they would shout out that it’s “finished” but it doesn’t even look like it’s been touched. Physically ticking a box to confirm that he’s cleaned their room is not as straightforward but it’s a start.
It’s a mystery, but personal hygiene is something that many kids try to dodge (specially boys from my experience). More so during the school holidays! I’m not a nagger, and I hate it when I find repeating myself over and over again! ‘Have you brushed your teeth?’, ‘Don’t forget to wash your face!’.
When is he going to realise the importance of having good personal hygiene? Why doesn’t he care? Does my child have amnesia? During the summer it’s even worse, and I’ve reached the end of my tether. This checklist saves me nagging, and gives him the opportunity to take responsibility to look after himself without being prompted.
Not Staying In Pyjamas All Day
Don’t get me wrong, staying in pyjamas all day is an attractive prospect. Specially during the summer holidays. But I’m a parent, and even though I would love to be in comfies all day, I have to set an example.
Staying in his pyjamas all day every day is NOT COOL or good for motivation. Routines are important, more so during the holidays. It might be a small thing, but getting dressed and ready for the day makes you feel more productive.
Having good handwriting is not one of my sons best qualities. His writing needs a lot of improvement and it’s something that the teacher always tell him to do better.
This year I bought some letter writing practice books from Amazon. The Handwriting Practice Book had some good reviews and aimed for kids between 7-11 years of age. Hopefully, by the end of this summer, there’s some improvement on his writing. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect.
For us reading in 3 languages is important. As I’ve mentioned before subjects are taught in Castellano and Valenciano. My child is expected to understand and read books during the year.
At the moment he needs a lot of practice in the Valenciano language and also the use of correct English grammar. He much prefers reading in English, which is understandable. But Valenciano is also as equally important for him to pass next year.
A subject that my son struggles with. After speaking to his teacher at the end of the term. We all agreed that we will need to reinforce Math skills that he has been learning in class.
Spending 30 minutes on a Maths summer workbook will refresh his knowledge and gain some confidence in the subject when September finally begins.
I have included 15 minutes of Doddle Maths app time on his tasks. The app aims to help him refresh math problems by practising on a daily basis.
I don’t want to completely rule out screen time, technology is not a negative thing. But kids do need to understand that it can also be used for learning as well as fun!
Helping Around The House
Depending on how old the child is he/she can share some responsibility by helping around the house. Whether it’s helping load the washing machine, put away the dishes or sweep the floor.
I’ve given my son the responsibility of helping others around the home. Whether it would be putting the dishes away, washing in the basket, sweeping, helping collect the post and picking up after himself.
How many days in to the summer holidays you hear the dreaded words? ‘I’m booooreeeed!’? Two days if you’re lucky?
I always tell the kids that only boring people get bored. Just because they’re bored doesn’t mean that they have the right to spend hours on the tablet or computer.
Giving the kids the opportunity to get bored is important to spark their creativity. I know full well my son won’t die of boredom (even though he thinks he will). Without any instant stimulation, he is more likely to read, create or invent something to entertain himself.
Printable Summer Holiday Checklist
This little method works for us. He loves all the ticking all the boxes and seeing his achievements at the end of the day. Of course, there have been days when he’s conveniently forgotten to do some things. So if that happens, he makes up for it the next day.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for doing nothing and relaxing over the summer holidays, but 12 weeks is far too long. Without a firm schedule, he turns in to a wild creature and finds it hard to adjust to routine again when September begins.
How do you keep your child or children in routine over the summer holidays? Do you find that checklists and reward charts work? Let me know in the comments below!
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